Terrace Pond – West, Circular, North

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A rugged route around scenic Terrace Pond with a floating bridge and lots of scrambling.

5.0 miles – Surface is rocky with scrambling.

Our two cents:

Have you heard about Terrace Pond’s floating bridge? It’s on this route and replaced the old dicey wet crossing as well as a section of rock scramble, making this hike easier than it was.

Still, a casual la-di-da stroll in the woods this is not. This route has a decent amount of scrambling and is not going to be everyone’s cup-o-tea. Plenty of rhododendron.

Updates: 4/2021 – Description and Interactive Map adjusted to reflect major trail names/colors changes; but not re-hiked. 12/2019: Minor revisions. Route not re-hiked but the two other Terrace Pond routes listed above overlap most of it and were re-hiked in 2019.


Swimming Note:

Though you’ll see people doing it, swimming in Terrace Pond is not allowed – it’s patrolled and ticketed. The sides of the pond are somewhat high above the water on rock ledges in most spots, it’s not like you can walk into the water from a beach.

It can be dangerous and several people have drowned. In addition, it’s difficult for Search & Rescue to reach this remote location quickly. See “Terrace Pond attracts hikers from all over, but there’s a reason why swimming is banned.


Map:

North Jersey Trails is recommended to navigate the network of trails in this park but the most recent version (2017) is out of date due to multiple trail changes.

The map on the park’s site has now been updated. Though the trails are considered part of Wawayanda State Park, they are now covered on the Abram Hewitt park site.

No paper maps at but there is a large map on the trail kiosk. Follow along on your smartphone with our Interactive Map link above.

Note 4/2021: The description below has been updated to reflect major changes to trail names and blazes – but we have not hiked it since the changes. The map on the park’s site has been updated but North Jersey Trails (2017 edition) has not. There is also this new Terrace Pond map.

Books:

Variations can be found in Hiking New Jersey, Hiking the Jersey Highlands, and Take a Hike New York City.

A long, challenging loop that joins a hike to Terrace Pond with with a loop in the main part of Wawayanda can be found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City.


Parking: N41.14288° W74.40743° [P7 lot]

1575 Clinton Rd, Hewitt, NJ 07421. Rt 287N to exit 52 (or Rt 287S to 52A), then Rt 23N towards Butler. Exit for Clinton Road.

The parking lot is past Clinton Reservoir and some other small parking areas. Just past a sign/gate for the Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Center is just a large dirt lot on the left with a small “P7” sign.

Restrooms:

Porta-john in the P2 lot (as of 9/2019) that is passed on the way to P7. Better bet: gas stations/stores along Rt 23 in Butler.


Hike Directions:

Overview: YELLOW (Terrace Pond (TP) West) – WHITE (TP Circular) – BLUE (TP North) – YELLOW-BLUE (TP Connector) – YELLOW (TP West)

0.0 – Walk across the street from the lot to the trail kiosk.

Sign and bench at the trail head

Bear LEFT to start following YELLOW (TP West). It’s mostly level at first, crossing some wet areas on large rocks.

Flat rocks as stepping stones on a trail
Wet area on a trail

0.7 – Turn RIGHT onto a pipeline cut and continue following YELLOW (TP West), which goes uphill at the edge of the woods, along the pipeline cut.

Hiking on a pipeline cut
View of a pipeline cut through a forest

0.8 – Turn RIGHT off the pipeline and back into the woods. Continue following YELLOW (TP West) as it scrambles up and down large rocks.

A faint trail on the right scrambles up to an optional view, but there is a better one in just a bit.

Rocky scramble on the BLUE trail
Rocky trail

1.2 – Off to the right, optionally scramble up a large protruding rock for a expansive view over the surrounding forest with low hills in the distance.

View from a scramble up a fin of rock on the BLUE trail
Rocky outcrop and a pine tree

Return to YELLOW (TP West), crossing some wet areas on large rocks.

1.4 – Arrive at the junction of YELLOW (TP West) and WHITE (TP Circular) near Terrace Pond.

Veer to the LEFT to start following WHITE (TP Circular).

Walk over to the right out to a viewpoint over Terrace Pond.

View of Terrace Pond from BLUE/WHITE

Approach a long floating bridge.

Floating bridge on a trail

Continue following WHITE (TP Circular) as it goes over the bridge.

Looking down a floating bridge

The floating walkway goes over a section of water and replaces a crossing that had become difficult, if not impossible, over the years – it used to require balancing on logs with one misstep leading to a muck covered leg.

Water and logs next to a new floating bridge

Get a peek through the trees into Terrace Pond.

Terrace pond with vegetation on either side

After the bridge the trail soon comes to a steep area of rocks with a ladder.

Ladder on a rock face.

The ladder makes easy work of a scramble up a rock face.

Hiker at the top of a ladder placed on a rock face
Wooden ladder placed on angled rock face

1.5 – Turn RIGHT to start following BLUE (TP North). [WHITE (TP Circular) is co-joined. BLUE (TP North) also goes left].

Just ahead on the right are two good break spots with views of Terrace Pond.

View of the rocky sides of the pond

1.6 – A short unmarked path goes over to a wide viewpoint of the pond. Retrace your steps, continuing on BLUE (TP North).

Bright blue pond with yellow foliage on the side

2.0 – Continue following BLUE (TP North) as it turns LEFT. [WHITE (TP Circular) continues ahead].

White trail in autumn

2.7 – Start following YELLOW-BLUE (TP Connector) straight ahead. [BLUE (TP North) leaves to the left; RED (TP Red) crosses the trail.]

2.9 – YELLOW-BLUE (TP Connector) ends at YELLOW (TP West). Continue straight, now following YELLOW (TP West). [YELLOW (TP West) also continues back to the right]

Pass a large swampy area on the right.

Swampy area from beaver activity

In prior years there were signs of beaver activity but we didn’t spot any lodges the last time here (9/2019).

Beaver lodge

Cross a drainage pipe. The trail was very overgrown and grassy in spots and at points is a wide woods road.

3.2 – Continue following YELLOW (TP West) as it turns sharply to the RIGHT.

Yellow trail is sometimes a woods road

3.5 – Continue following YELLOW (TP West) turns to the RIGHT.

Continue following YELLOW (TP West) through rhododendron tunnels and crossing sometimes wet areas on rocks, back to the lot.

Rhododendron tunnel


Hiked: 10/21/12 – Trail Blog: “Terrace Pond – Wawayanda State Park